Monday, August 10, 2009
Our Guest: Ricki Thomas: Past and Future of Hope's Vengeance
I first started writing professionally nine years ago, giving up a successful job for the poverty-filled life of a writer. At first I was, like most writing lambs, fairly blasé and over-confident, but over the next couple of years of collecting rejection letters, I realised how difficult the business was, and if I wanted any form of credibility, I was going to have to change the four novels I’d written drastically, and grow up.
The idea of Hope’s Vengeance was from a personal level: my life, as most peoples, hadn’t been entirely smooth, and for a period I had to see a counsellor to address the resulting problems. My counsellor was a tremendous lady, she made a point of trying to understand who I was and from there counselled me on a level that suited me, and my personality.
Having finished with counselling and feeling able to write again (not easy when your head’s in turmoil!) I thought about the intimate bond that I’d shared during counselling, about how much she’d felt like the closest friend in the world for a long time, and the issues we’d discussed. So I thought a book raising awareness of the unspoken topics, which need addressing, and the huge way talking about problems to a friendly ear could make life so much better.
So Hope, the much-troubled , yet still strong, lady who seeks a counsellor, and Dawn, the lady who changes Hope’s life, were born. It’s a fast-paced tale, Hope’s Vengeance, starting in counselling, and gradually spreading to snapshots of both women’s external lives, with a whole array of emotions coming into play. The plot gets deeper and more mysterious over the weekly counselling sessions, and when people begin to go missing Dawn seriously doubts her own mind: could Hope be capable of murder?
When I was offered a publishing deal in February my first thought … oh no, that was elation … okay, second thought, was how the book could HELP women rather than just be a, in my opinion, good read. Having debated for a while as to whether it would be a good idea or not, I finally asked my publishers if they would mind putting details of a few charities and their help-lines at the end of the book, so if anybody reading had suffered any of the painful events involved in the counselling sessions, there would be a number of an organisation who may be able to help them.
The publisher agreed this was a good idea, so I contacted charities to ask their permission, and when the book is released on 28th September, the pages at the back will be stuffed with help-lines!
On a personal level, I find it amazing, the statistics which show how many women have suffered abuse of all kinds. I won’t use statistics here because they vary from study to study, but whichever research you read, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and rape, in particular, are way too common in our society, yet nobody (except the charities who try their best with little funding) seems to want to vocalise these issues as they are deemed ‘uncomfortable’. Well. I do. And will.
Hope’s Vengeance brings these issues, and more, to the fore, and I very much hope that, although the book is a fictional novel, it will open doors where we can somehow raise awareness, and subsequently make changes, for women who have been forced to be victims.
Hope’s Vengeance will be followed by Return from Paradise, another sardonically funny yet harrowing tale, and in the meantime I shall be entering into a signing tour throughout England in October, and hope to see you all there!
© Ricki Thomas